The merge has happened. This means Ethereum’s long-awaited and technically astonishing switch to a proof-of-stake consensus system has finally transpired.
The colossal move marks the merging of the mainnet execution layer of Ethereum with its Beacon Chain consensus layer officially. Ethereum developers had formulated the Beacon Chain in 2020. Until currently, it has been operating in parallel with the Ethereum mainnet.
After officially switching from its original proof-of-work consensus mechanism, the energy consumption of the Ethereum blockchain is expected to drop between 99.5 and 99.99 percent.
Why does it matter?
NFTs have long held a (somewhat unjustified) reputation for being harmful environmentally, as blockchains rely heavily upon energy-intensive proof-of-work consensus processes. This system needs computers in the blockchain network to conduct complicated, cryptographically-rooted calculations to add blocks to the chain.
An energy-intensive system by design, PoW consensus is a way of guaranteeing security in the blockchain network and stopping anyone from messing with the public ledger that is the blockchain itself. Until today, the combined energy consumption of Bitcoin and Etherium sat somewhere between the yearly energy consumption of Italy and the United Kingdom. Perspective is important, however, the biggest environmental offender in the blockchain space, the energy requirements of Bitcoin don’t even crack what Google, Apple, and Amazon require to run their data centers.
After the merge of Etherium, its blockchain has almost dropped off that map entirely. While it will take some time to calculate the actual energy consumption of its new PoS system, both Ethereum developers and independent blockchain experts have predicted a reduction which can be anywhere between 99.5 and 99.99 percent. That is an order to lower energy consumption, and a huge win for Web3 as it swiftly moves into the future.
— EthereumPoW (ETHW) Official #ETHW #ETHPoW (@EthereumPoW) September 12, 2022
What’s waiting next?
Wait for the split. Not everyone is pleased about Ethereum’s merging, as the shift potentially puts thousands of crypto miners who are responsible for keeping its PoW system running out of their jobs. Groups of miners, like EthereumPOW, have created plenty of buzz recently about splitting (forking) the network and proceeding with a PoW-powered Ethereum blockchain known as ETHW. The group has declared its intention of forking the network within 24 hours of the merge.
If they do, this could ultimately lead to the duplication of digital assets from the official Ethereum chain up until the moment of the fork. The decentralized nature of the blockchain implies that there is no governing body to declare assets such as ETH or NFTs invalid. However, since most Web3 groups and denizens plan to follow Ethereum when it moves into PoS, there is a general consensus that the assets on that chain will remain valid.
Regardless, always be careful of the bad actors trying to sell off assets from the forked chain or anyone telling you that you have got some extra ETH on the network that they can help you liquidate. Remember, you don’t have to do anything with your ETH or NFTs to “update” it or “sync up” with the newest version of the Ethereum blockchain.
Source- NFT Now